McAlester Armed Forces Day Parade Chairman Jeff Wolf provides information about the festivities this weekend.
1. What is the theme for this year's event?
This year's theme is the 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. It's kind of a heart-felt deal for McAlester because the McAlester-based 445th Military Police Company of the Oklahoma National Guard was deployed to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. If anyone is a Desert Storm veteran or family of a Desert Storm vet, we will have a special section for them to sit during the parade.
2. What's happening at the parade?
The 74th Armed Forces Day Parade is set to start at 10 a.m. on May 1 and will feature vintage military vehicles, marching bands, parade floats, flyovers, and much more. We will have a World War I artillery half-section, the Choctaw Nation Color Guard, Choctaw princesses, Shriners and it's going to be a great celebration. Members of the 138th TFW, Tactical Fighter Wing have accepted an invitation to fly over the Armed Forces Day parade route as well.
3. What bands have agreed to participate?
The 77th U.S. Army Band out of Fort Sill in Lawton and marching bands from McAlester High School and Coalgate High School.
4. What is the parade route?
The parade will start from A Street and turn east on Carl Albert Parkway, then to proceed east on Carl Albert Parkway to Fifth Street. Then it will turn south on Fifth Street, then continue south for one block to Choctaw Avenue. It will then turn west on Choctaw Avenue and go down Choctaw Avenue to Main Street.
5. What happens afterward?
There will be a block party shortly after the parade is over. The city of McAlester agreed to block off Choctaw Avenue between First Street and Second Street for the event until 1 p.m.
There will be a performance by the 77th U.S. Army Brass Ensemble, members of the 77th U.S. Army Marching Band, known as the Pride of Fort Sill. There will also be Living History re-enactors from Tulsa, some static military displays, and vintage military jeeps — and of course refreshments.